Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Between Dissolution and Blood: How Administrative Lines and Categories Shape Secessionist Outcomes

Abstract
Abstract

Common wisdom and current scholarship hold that governments need to stand firm in the face of secessionist demands, since permitting the secession of one region can set a precedent for others. For this reason governments will often choose blood rather than risk dissolution. I argue that administrative organization provides states with a third option. Those regions that represent a unique administrative type stand a much better chance of seceding peacefully. Moreover, large articulated states sometimes downsize by administrative category, which helps explain why governments will release one set of units without contest while preventing another set from doing the same. Finally, secessionist movements that do not cohere with any administrative region are the least likely to be granted independence. In sum, the administrative architecture of states provides governments with a means to discriminate between secessionist demands. I test this theory in a large-N study using original data on secessionist movements and administrative units between 1816 and 2011.

Copyright
References
Hide All
ArmitageDavid. 2007. The Declaration of Independence: A Global History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
ArmitageDavid. 2010. Secession and Civil War. In Secession as an International Phenomenon, edited by Doyle Don H., 3755. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
AspinallEdward. 2007. The Construction of Grievance: Natural Resources and Identity in a Separatist Conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution 51 (6):571–85.
BartkusViva O. 1999. The Dynamic of Secession. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Studies.
BeissingerMark R. 2002. Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
BunceValerie. 1999. Subversive Institutions: The Design and the Destruction of Socialism and the State. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
CarterDavid B., and Goemans H.E.. 2011. The Making of the Territorial Order: New Borders and the Emergence of Interstate Conflict. International Organization 65 (2):275310.
CogginsBridget L. 2011. Friends in High Places: International Politics and the Emergence of States from Secessionism. International Organization 65 (3):433–68.
CollierPaul, and Hoeffler Anke. 2006. The Political Economy of Secession. In Negotiating Self-Determination, edited by Hannum Hurst and Babbitt Eileen F., 3760. Oxford, UK: Lexington Books.
CrawfordJames. 2006. The Creation of States in International Law. 2nd ed. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.
CunninghamKathleen G. 2011. Divide and Conquer or Divide and Concede: How Do States Respond to Internally Divided Separatists? American Political Science Review 105 (2):275–97.
CunninghamKathleen G. 2013. Understanding Strategic Choice: The Determinants of Civil War and Nonviolent Campaign in Self-Determination Disputes. Journal of Peace Research 50 (3):291304.
FabryMikulas. 2010. Recognizing States: International Society and the Establishment of New States Since 1776. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
FazalTanisha M., and Griffiths Ryan D.. 2014. Membership Has Its Privileges: The Changing Benefits of Statehood. International Studies Review 16 (1):79106.
FearonJames D., and Laitin David D.. 2003. Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War. American Political Science Review 97 (1):7590.
GartzkeEric, and Rohner Dominic. 2011. The Political Economy of Imperialism, Decolonization, and Development. British Journal of Political Science 41 (3):525–56.
GoldsmithBenjamin E., and He Baogang. 2008. Letting Go Without a Fight: Decolonization, Democracy, and War, 1900–94. Journal of Peace Research 45 (5):587611.
GriffithsRyan D. 2014. Secession and the Invisible Hand of the International System. Review of International Studies 40 (3):559–81.
HaleHenry E. 2008. The Foundations of Ethnic Politics: Separatism of States and Nations in Eurasia and the World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
HechterMichael. 1992. The Dynamics of Secession. Acta Sociologica 35 (2):267–83.
HechterMichael. 2000. Containing Nationalism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
HeraclidesAlexis. 1991. The Self-Determination of Minorities in International Politics. London: Frank Cass.
HerbstJeffrey. 2000. State Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
HorowitzDonald L. 2000. Ethnic Groups in Conflict. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press.
JacksonRobert H. 1990. Quasi-States: Sovereignty, International Relations, and the Third World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
JacksonRobert H. 1993. The Weight of Ideas in Decolonization: Normative Change in International Relations. In Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions, and Political Change, edited by Goldstein Judith and Keohane Robert O., 111–38. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
JenneErin K., Saideman Stephen M., and Lowe Will. 2007. Separatism as a Bargaining Posture: The Role of Leverage in Minority Radicalization. Journal of Peace Research 44 (5):539–58.
Ker-LindsayJames. 2012. The Foreign Policy of Counter Secession: Preventing the Recognition of Contested States. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
LincolnAbraham. 1953 [1861]. Message to Congress in Special Session, July 4, 1861. In The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Vol. 4, edited by Basler Roy P.. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
LustickIan S. 1993. Unsettled States, Disputed Lands: Britain and Ireland, France and Algeria, Israel and the West Bank–Gaza. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
MarshallMonty G., and Jaggers Keith. 2011. Polity IV Project: Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800–2011. Dataset Users' Manual. Center for Systemic Peace. College Park: University of Maryland. Available at <http://www.systemicpeace.org/inscrdata.html>. Accessed 15 December 2013.
MilgromPaul, and Roberts John. 1982. Predation, Reputation, and Entry Deterrence. Journal of Economic Theory 27 (2):280312.
MinahanJames. 1996. Nations Without States: A Historical Dictionary of Contemporary National Movements. London: Greenwood Press.
O'LearyBrendan, Lustick Ian S., and Callaghy Thomas, eds. 2001. Right-Sizing the State: The Politics of Moving Borders. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
ÖsterudÖyvind. 1997. The Narrow Gate: Entry to the Club of Sovereign States. Review of International Studies 23 (2):167–84.
PaquinJonathan. 2010. A Stability-Seeking Power: US Foreign Policy and Secessionist Conflicts. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.
PavkovićAleksandar, and Radan Peter, eds. 2011. The Ashgate Research Companion to Secession. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
RadanPeter. 2008. Secession: A Word in Search of a Meaning. In On the Way to Statehood: Secession and Globalization, edited by Radan Peter and Pavković Aleksandar, 1732. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
RatnerSteven R. 1996. Drawing a Better Line: Uti Possidetis and the Borders of New States. American Journal of International Law 94 (4):590624.
RoederPhilip G. 2007. Where Nation-States Come From: Institutional Change in the Age of Nationalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
SaidemanStephen M. 1998. Is Pandora's Box Half Empty or Half Full? The Limited Virulence of Secessionism and the Domestic Sources of Disintegration. In The International Spread of Ethnic Conflict: Fear, Diffusion, and Escalation, edited by Lake David A. and Rothchild Donald, 127–50. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
SaidemanStephen M. 2001. The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press.
SaidemanStephen M. 2002. Discrimination in International Relations: Analyzing External Support for Ethnic Groups. Journal of Peace Research 39 (1):2750.
SambanisNicholas, and Milanovic Branko. 2011. Explaining the Demand for Sovereignty. Policy Research Working Paper 5888. Washington, DC: Development Research Group, World Bank.
SchellingThomas C. 1960. The Strategy of Conflict. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
SeltenReinhard. 1978. The Chain Store Paradox. Theory and Decision 9 (2):127–59.
SharmanJason C. 2013. International Hierarchies and Contemporary Imperial Governance: A Tale of Three Kingdoms. European Journal of International Relations 19 (2):189207.
ShawMalcolm N. 1997. Peoples, Territorialism, and Boundaries. European Journal of International Law 8 (3):478507.
SorensJason. 2012. Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.
SpruytHendrick. 2005. Ending Empire: Contested Sovereignty and Territorial Partition. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
SterioMilena. 2013. The Right to Self-Determination Under International Law: “Selfistans,” Secession, and the Rule of the Great Powers. New York: Routledge.
ThemnérLotta, and Wallensteen Peter. 2012. Armed Conflict, 1946–2011. Journal of Peace Research 49 (4):565–75.
ToftMonica D. 2002. Indivisible Territory, Geographic Concentration, and Ethnic War. Security Studies 12 (2):82119.
WalterBarbara F. 2006a. Information, Uncertainty, and the Decision to Secede. International Organization 60 (1):105–35.
WalterBarbara F. 2006b. Building Reputation: Why Governments Fight Some Separatists but Not Others. American Journal of Political Science 50 (2):313–30.
WalterBarbara F. 2009. Reputation and Civil War: Why Separatist Conflicts Are So Violent. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
YeltsinBoris N. 2000. Midnight Diaries. New York: Public Affairs.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 189 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 441 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.